Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

January, 2005
Regional Report

Reduce Lawn Watering During Rainy Spells

With so much moisture coming down, it's likely you can skip a cycle or two of lawn watering. Use a long-handled screwdriver as a soil probe, and stick it into the turf. It will move easily through moist soil and stop at hard, dry soil. Winter ryegrass should be moist to a depth of 4 to 6 inches, which is how deep its root system grows.

Protect Citrus from Frost

Citrus trees are susceptible to frost damage, so wrap tree trunks with cloth, burlap, cardboard, or frost cloth. Wrap multiple layers loosely for best insulation. The wrap should completely cover the trunk from the base up to the lower branches. It doesn\'t hurt to leave the trunk wrap on through the winter.

Fertilize Container Plants

The frequent watering required for containers, and the heavy winter rains that we've been experiencing, combine to leach away nutrients. Container plants quickly use up available nutrients. Put your containers on a regular fertilizing program. Slow-release fertilizers are time-savers as they last several months, although they are generally more expensive than other plant food. Follow package instructions for application rates.

Plant Cool-Season Herbs

Sow seeds for borage, chamomile, chervil, garlic chives, cilantro, dill, and thyme into loose, well-drained garden soil in a sunny location. Keep soil moist until seeds sprout.

Fertilize Citrus Trees

Divide your citrus tree's total annual nitrogen requirements into three equal feedings. Apply one third in January or February. Apply the remainder in April/May and August/September. The amount depends on the tree's size and how many years it has been in the ground. Use a citrus fertilizer and follow package instructions. Water thoroughly after applying fertilizer to prevent burn.


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